Unemployment is a pressing issue in African countries where youth population is high and jobs are scarce. South Africa has one of the worst youth-unemployment problems not only in Africa but in the world. In the country, more than half of the population is younger than 25 years old and less than half of the working-age population is employed. The lingering effects of apartheid are pinpointed as one of the reasons black children are not guaranteed to get university education or have a job afterwards.

 

A number of initiatives are growing to address this issue directly. One such, the Southern Africa Youth Project, was profiled on Al Jazeera recently. The Southern African Youth Project is an accredited training provider that teaches high-school graduates technical skills to help them find jobs.  The project also linked trained youth to job placements and manages budding entrepreneurs.

 

Yellowwood’s Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is another project that attempts to address the difficulties young people face in finding employment. Derived from a Swahili word that implies working together as a team, Harambee matches young people with businesses by focusing on personal strengths as opposed to job or educational history. This unique approach means that job seekers are more easily able to identify their strengths and work in industries that will be more meaningful and satisfactory to them. The Harambee model trains youth based on what companies are looking for before placing them in formal-sector jobs. The project has been ranked among the top 10 favourite consumer brands in South Africa.

 

There is also the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa which nurtures entrepreneurs across African by educating them to confront Africa’s challenges. Leadership, entrepreneurship, and African Studies is the ALA’s chosen curriculum to inspire young Africans who will create large-scale enterprises that will create jobs in their respective countries. The South Korean multinational company Samsung last year forayed into the field of job creation when its South African branch launched the Mixed Talents campaign. This campaign saw experts from different backgrounds and areas being paired with promising youth in workshops to combine knowledge and come up creative solutions using technology.

 

Most of these ventures are from the private sector, while some involve the government, it is absolutely necessary for the South Africa government to be involved in reducing unemployment in the country.

 

What does the South African government need to do to alleviate the issue of unemployment? Let us know your opinion by leaving a comment below or by reaching me on Twitter @rafeeeeta